Our own life experiences shape the way we talk about (or don’t talk about) death. These may include childhood traumas, but also conventions and norms of where and how we grew up.
As a child, I attended most of the funerals at our church, often helping my mom in the kitchen. I went to visitations at funeral homes, pausing by open caskets to remember the relative or friend of the family who had died. Every Memorial Day, we decorated our relatives’ graves at the cemeteries. Death was part of the rhythm of community and family life.
I’m thankful for the gift of my Lutheran Christian faith, which provides the space for a range of emotions, relationships where we can be real with each other, theological language to hold joy and sorrow simultaneously, and, most importantly, an understanding that death isn’t the final word. We are people of resurrection hope. God holds us all, through it all.
This message is excerpted from “For all the saints” by Lisa A. Smith in the November/December 2021 Gather magazine. Today is Memorial Day.
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